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Updated: 23 November 2016
There are many advantages to reducing your energy bills this winter – not only will you cut the amount you need to pay to utilities companies but you will also have a positive impact on the environment. But how do you do it?
According to the Energy Saving Trust you can save around £30 a year if you don’t leave your appliances on standby when you’re not using them – turn them off at the plug to stop the energy drain.
There are lots of savings to be made on energy when it comes to the bathroom – if you shower for one minute less every day you could shave around £10 a year on energy bills, per person. An water efficient shower head soon (which you can fit if you have a shower fed straight from your boiler or hot water tank) pays for itself with savings of nearly £70 a year in a four person household.
Heating our homes is one of the biggest energy expenses and during the winter months this goes through the roof. The key is to make sure that you’re in control of your heating and you’re using your radiators when you most need them, rather than wasting energy by having the heating on all the time. If you invest in a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves then you could save somewhere between £80 and £165 a year. If you don’t want to pay to have all of that installed then simply turn your heating down – doing this by just a single degree could help to save you between £85 and £90 a year.
It doesn’t matter how old your boiler is, there should still be some basic controls that allow you to use your boiler in a way that is more efficient and intelligent throughout the colder months. For example, you should be able to set the temperature for your home, to make sure that you’re only heating the rooms that are being used and to time your heating to come on when you are at home and to go off when you’re not. If you want to take your home heating up a gear then why not invest in some smart heating controls – this means you can access the boiler controls and the thermostat via a mobile phone app, ensuring that your home is always at the right temperature wherever you are.
…when you’re not using it that is. Turning a light off even just for a second or two will use less energy than it takes for the light to start up again – this applies regardless of the type of light. If you’re not in the room make sure the lights are not on and encourage anyone sharing your home with you to do this too. It’s a huge waste of energy to leave lights on when you’re not home so if you want to do this as a security measure then invest in a timer so your lights are only coming on for a specified period of time each day.
There’s been a lot of criticism of energy saving light bulbs – if the average house replaced all its bulbs with energy saving versions it would cost around £100 to do this and the saving would be only £35 per year. However, what many people forget is that’s a saving of £35 a year every year. Most bulbs last somewhere between six and 15 years and you’ll get the saving from switching to lower energy bulbs every year of that lifespan.
There are a few basic changes you can make to the way that you use your kitchen that will help to reduce energy bills by subtle amounts – all of which add up in the long term. If you use a bowl for your washing up, rather than running a tap, then you could see savings of £30 a year. Add £7 a year if you only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need to boil, rather than to the top every time, and another £5 a year if you use your washing machine for a single cycle every week. Obviously for some families such minimal washing machine use is almost impossible so look out for the eco cycle on the washing machine and that will also help to bring costs down.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read about Oliver Jones
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